New Version of Guidelines for Swedish Public Sector Web Sites

Verva, the Swedish Administrative Development Agency has released an updated version of the guidelines for Swedish public sector web sites. The document is used by public organizations when procuring new web sites as well as by developers as an aid in the development process.

No english translation is available yet, but I know there will be a summary in english in the beginning of 2007. In the meantime, here is an overview of the guidelines:

  1. Efficient service – use technology as a tool to optimize your organization processes. Use standards for information exchange.
  2. The development process – integrate usability in the development process and don’t detail requirements upfront.
  3. Web site standards – use technical standards as well as standards for structure, navigation and design. Code for a markup standard rather than targeting specific browsers.
  4. Web site content and services – minimum requirements for web site content. Provide basic information in sign language and minority languages.
  5. Keeping the web site alive and up to date – write in a clear and simple lanugage (for a summary see my previous article “Working with content…”), monitor traffic statistics and learn user behaviour.
  6. Considerations for mobile terminals – ensure the web site works resonably in a mobile terminal. Provide a stylesheet for handheld terminals. Use the W3C Mobile web best practices for more information.
  7. Content management systems – guidelines for choosing a CMS: should handle web standards, should not force the editor to use a specific web browser, technology independent URLs, should have integrated support for accessibility checks.
  8. Assistive technologies for web browsing – introduction to assistive devices and ways users may access the web site.

If you are interested in knowing more about a particular chapter, post a comment below and I will try to expand the translation in that particular area. I have contributed as a co-author to some of the guidelines in this version as well as the previous.

EIZO Releases Color Vision Deficiency Simulation Monitor

EIZO has created a monitor that can simulate various types of vision deficiencies (PDF document). It is great to see hardware vendors making an effort to provide tools to improve accessibility, but this one makes me wonder. Do you really need to have hardware support for this? The advantage seems to be that you can test moving images more easily.

EIZO worked closely with the Color Universal Design Organization (CUDO) (also see english machine translation) in conducting experiments with colorblind test subjects to improve the ability to identify difficult to distinguish colors.

Fore those not fortunate to have access to an EIZO monitor, there are a number of software tools available to simulate how web pages and images look with various types of vision deficiencies:

What I haven’t seen is an application that isn’t confined to the browser, but works on top of your operating system. I guess this wouldn’t be very hard to do. Depending on the operating system it should be possible to have a filter applied to the entire screen. If you know of one, please post it in the comments below.

Don’t Provide an Accessibility Statement

When I surf the web I see more and more sites providing an accessibility statement. Googling for “accessibility statement” returns over twelve million pages. What do these statements contain? Why would you want one? Who reads them? This article will try to make two points: 1. accessibility statements are often pointless and 2. you are better off with a “site help” if you think your target audience need it.
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